Long lines in Andover
Andover Town Clerk Randy Hanson fielded multiple calls from Scott Brown's campaign yesterday over concern for the long lines at the polls.
Traffic at Andover High School backed up onto Shawsheen Road for much of the day, and Hanson said at one point the wait to get into the Collins Field House to vote was 20 minutes.
"I told them we're doing the best we can," said Hanson. She said the winter weather, combined with high voter turnout, were the reasons for the traffic congestion.
In all, Hanson said the Brown campaign called three or four times yesterday.
"It's just a very aggressive campaign," said Hanson. "They wanted to make sure everybody gets inside to vote and so do I."
To help relieve traffic, high school and middle schools students were released at 1:40 p.m.
If Reyda Muniz was hoping no one noticed she was late yesterday, she was wrong.
The precinct warden at Essex Towers, Muniz said she ran late yesterday morning due to car trouble. But a poll checker for Americans for Limited Government dropped by the precinct and complained there was no warden there.
Muniz said she arrived soon afterwards and was seated in the precinct, alongside precinct clerk Angel Marmol, at 10:30 a.m. She planned to spend the rest of the day at the polling precinct, she said.
The city's elections division had no problem with Muniz's tardiness and noted Marmol is trained to cover the precinct if needed. Essex Towers, in fact, was one of the quieter polling locations yesterday, noted elections worker Richard Reyes.
If the name Angel Marmol rings a bell, he was the poll warden arrested the day of the primary.
Marmol, who said he was a lawyer in the Dominican Republican, is accused of bilking divorce clients here.
He was paid close to $1,500 to file paperwork for various clients but allegedly never did so after pocketing the cash. His case is pending in Lawrence District Court.
They came from Salem, N.H.
Four members of the Salem, N.H., Republican Town Committee stood in front of Haverhill City Hall holding Scott Brown campaign signs. They said they were invited by the Haverhill Republican City Committee. Drivers passing by beeped their horns and waved at Ed DeClercq, 58, Harry Orcutt, 67, Patrick McDougall, 35, and David Dalrymple, 67, all of Salem, N.H.
First time campaign sign holder
George Lemieux , 59, of Bradford, stood in front of Hunking Middle School holding a Scott Brown campaign sign and waving to voters who arrived at the polls there.
"This is the first time I've done something like this," said Lemieux, a registered Independent who teaches in Billerica's public schools, which were closed yesterday.
Heavy turnout at Hunking school
Voter turnout at Haverhill's Hunking Middle School was hot and heavy. By 11:52 a.m., Ward 2, Precinct 2 Warden James Macdonald counted 351 votes cast, which he said was about double the number cast by this time of day in the December primary.
"There seems to be a lot of interest in this race," Macdonald said. "I think it will be a very good turnout."
Just down the hall, the voting machine at Ward 7, Precinct 2, had registered 305 votes cast by 11:50 a.m.
The line forms at the door
At around 12:30 p.m., voters arriving at Haverhill High School found they had to wait a few minutes for parking spaces to open up. Inside, voting was steady and strong. Cheryll Capodilupo, warden of Ward 1, Precinct 3, said 25 people were waiting at the door when the polls opened at 7 a.m. She counted 314 votes cast by 12:45 p.m. At the other side of the school's gymnasium, poll workers at Ward 5, Precinct 3 counted 629 votes cast. They said it was about three times the number cast by this time of day in the December primary.
Get your "I voted" stickers
The Haverhill Public Library saw a steady stream of voters. At just past noon, Herb Bergh, warden of Ward 3, Precinct 2, counted 241 votes cast.
"I think we have more at this time than the entire primary, or close to it," Bergh said.
Those who voted were given stickers that read "I voted" and featured the image of a U.S. flag. Other polling locations were handing out the same kinds of stickers.
Staff reporters Jill Harmacinski, Mike Labella and Brian Messenger contributed to this report.